CU-Boulder researchers find common factors behind Greenland melt episodes in 2012, 1889

Atmospheric river events 2012. Credit: Don Murray, CIRES/NOAA

New from Colorado.EDU: In 2012, temperatures at the summit of Greenland rose above freezing for the first time since 1889, raising questions about what led to the unusual melt episode. Now, a new analysis led by the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder shows that some of the same weather and climate factors were at play in both 1889 and 2012: heat waves thousands of miles upwind in North America, higher-than-average ocean surface temperatures south of Greenland and atmospheric rivers of warm, moist air that streamed toward … [Read more...]

Methane leaks from palm oil wastewater are climate concern, CU-Boulder study says

Hana Fancher, Philip Taylor methane research palm oil wastewater ponds

In recent years, palm oil production has come under fire from environmentalists concerned about the deforestation of land in the tropics to make way for new palm plantations. Now there is a new reason to be concerned about palm oil’s environmental impact, according to researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder. An analysis published Feb. 26 in the journal Nature Climate Change shows that the wastewater produced during the processing of palm oil is a significant source of heat-trapping methane in the atmosphere. But the researchers also present a possible solution: capturing the … [Read more...]

Amazonian drought conditions add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere

Amazon River through the rainforest

This article originally appeared on the University of Colorado Boulder website. As climates change, the lush tropical ecosystems of the Amazon Basin may release more of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than they absorb, according to a new study published Feb. 6 in Nature. An international team of scientists found that the amount of yearly rainfall was the driving factor behind the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) taken up and released from Amazonia in 2010 and 2011. During a wet year, the Amazon forests were roughly carbon-neutral: Forests “inhaled” more carbon … [Read more...]

Dr. Konrad Steffen and James Hansen Offer Evidence for a Disruptive Call to Action

Konrad Steffen photo

A paper by James Hansen and 17 scientific colleagues includes the work of CU-Boulder Professor Emeritus of Geography, Konrad Steffen. “Assessing Dangerous Climate Change: Required Reduction of Carbon Emissions to Protect Young People, Future Generations and Nature” calls for cohesive, unified action to reduce fossil fuel emissions to pre-Industrial Era levels. The paper details the need for a multi-disciplinary approach to reducing carbon emissions. PLOS ONE, as publishers of the paper, announced a call for papers to support this goal. Read more about the paper on the PLOS ONE website. … [Read more...]

New Report on Abrupt Climate Change Calls for Increased Monitoring and Early Warning System

West Antarctica Ice Sheet

A new National Academy of Science report on climate change has just been made available from its National Research Council, chaired by Professor James White of CU-Boulder’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. A video replay of the press briefing webcast is now available. Read or download a pdf of the the complete report or view the summary here: Summary: Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change The report, “Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises,” draws upon recent research to adjust the timeframe within which certain climate change impacts may happen. It emphasizes … [Read more...]

Replays of webinar series: “Climate Change for Educators”

CU Boulder climate-water webinar

Video replays of the "Climate Change For Educators" webinars are now available. Watch and download the video replays of the webinars which feature climate scientists and water experts from University of Colorado Boulder and USGS. You'll also find the slidedecks from each of the webinars on our SlideShare channel. Two more webinars in Spring 2014 will cover extreme weather attribution and preparedness. We'll be posting details here and in our monthly newsletter so stay tuned! … [Read more...]